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How to get a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrews!

How to get a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrews!

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Snagging a tee time on the Old Course at St. Andrews takes a little bit of savvy and a little bit of luck.  

There are tricks of the trade that can get you on without paying $3500 for the “St. Andrews Golf Experience” package.  Brandon Tucker, Managing Editor of, gives you several far easier ways!  Read on!

If you’ve ever put a tee in the ground, you’ve no doubt thought about what it would be like to play a round in the birthplace of golf: St. Andrews, Scotland.

How to get a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrews!

Your summer golf vacation could include a round on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

A common misconception of the famed Old Course at St. Andrews is that it’s an exclusive, private club like Augusta National. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

While it’s true that green fees at St. Andrews — and all of Scotland — have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, the Old Course is open to the public on most days. For a round, it costs about the same as your normal PGA Tour venue open to the public. Depending on the exchange rate, the 2014 green fee to play the Old Course is 160 pounds, which is about $260.

So how can I make a tee time on the Old Course at St. Andrews?

There are numerous ways to play the Old Course that vary in convenience and price.

The easiest option — and most expensive — is to book a golf package with a guaranteed tee time. These packages, which are a three-night minimum, are highly coveted assets, and the price to get one is steep. The Old Course Experience is the sole provider (but it does sell some of its inventory to other golf packagers). These packages start at around 2,000 pounds per person for three rounds/three nights in the summer.

The smarter way to get a guaranteed tee time at the posted green fee rate for that season is to write or email the St. Andrews Links Trust ( Each fall, the Trust holds an open period to accept group-booking requests. The more golfers you have in your group, the tougher it will be to accommodate everyone, but this is a surefire way for smaller groups that can commit to a date well in advance. Tour operators can help you submit these requests if you’d like to use one for your trip.

But you don’t have to plan well in advance — or shell out more money as part of a golf package — if you’re willing to gamble a little.

The Old Course holds a tee-sheet ballot every day the course is open to the public, and golfers (minimum of two) can enter the drawing, which is announced two days prior to play (so Wednesday tee times are announced Monday afternoon). Now, if you have a group of more than four, be prepared to split up or risk some of you not getting a time. You can enter the ballot at the Links Trust website. Results are posted at 4:30 p.m. every day.

So if you stay three or four days in St. Andrews, plan on entering the lottery for every day you are there, but book some “safety” tee times at nearby courses. These clubs know about the Old’s ballot policy, and just about all of them are happy to give you a rain check should you earn a ballot spot the day you’re supposed to play their course (just mention your plans to do so when booking with the course). Many clubs now offer online tee times as well so you can make last-minute arrangements.

The last option, if all else fails or if you’re a single, is to walk on. You’ll want to head to the starter’s shed at the crack of dawn and give your name to the starter, who will put you on the list and pair you with any incomplete groups. Keep your fingers crossed for no-shows.

The Unlimited Golf ticket at St. Andrews

This is a game changer for St. Andrews golfers. Recently, the Links Trust began selling an “unlimited golf” ticket for three (£200) and seven (£400) days. Good for each of the courses except the Old, you can set up tee times in advance for your morning round at any course and then have space-available replays in the afternoon. This is especially ideal for those willing to enter the Old Course Lottery during their stay in St. Andrews.

Check out some more tips on how to play St. Andrews here!

Source: Brandon Tucker/GolfAdvisor

Pictures: Brandon Tucker/GolfAdvisor

Thanks for reading – How to get a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrews!

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